Village Roadshow marketer forced to rethink TV ad spend

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 28 March 2018

With the Netflix effect in full swing, film and TV distribution businesses Village Roadshow says it has had to "dramatically" rethink its marketing strategy to ensure it's keeping up with its target audience.

While TV currently absorbs most of the ASX-listed firm's ad spend, followed by out-of-home and digital channels, Village Roadshow marketer Clare Smith says favouring the audio visual-strong medium of TV has to change.

"This is changing and has been changing quite dramatically since I joined. We are becoming less and less reliant on TV," Smith says.

"From a media perspective, when we spend on digital our ability to recycle the audience for that spend is far greater than what we could ever do with TV.

"With TV, that whole landscape is changing so rapidly that we are losing people behind subscription services that have zero ads."

In January this year Netflix hit a record 117.6 million subscribers for its last quarter, but speaking at the Future of TV conference in February, some argued Netflix's "unsustainable" business model was approaching an "inflection point". See here for more.

Speaking to AdNews at the Adobe Summit in the US, digital and customer marketing lead Smith, whose company structure sees her sit alongside one other marketing director, with both reporting to CMO Phil Oneile, says they have seen figures which say Netflix will be in 90% of households in the next two years.

"So, all of a sudden it's in 90% of households and you actually can't get to those people. For businesses like ours it's really problematic as we need to be in people's living rooms to excite them about movies that are coming out," Smith says.

"The business has had to change as what used to be highly effective for us, the audiences just don't live there anymore."

Village Roadshow, which is going through its digital transformation with Adobe, uses OMD for media, Isobar for digital and manages its creative in-house, says the business has had enough foresight to see this coming and to be able to lean into this and to start changing its media spend.

Despite having to previously paused ad spend on YouTube due to brand safety issues, both Facebook and YouTube sit atop of its digital ad spend budget. In addition, it taps unique publishers depending on the film it needs to contextually align with. It also uses Spotify sponsored lists and webpage takeovers.

Smith says OMD, which Roadshow has used for more than 20 years, is a very hands-on agency and says "by no means are OMD sitting back saying 'nope TV is all you're going to do'".

"They are very proactive with us and I am pushy back to them - we meet in the middle," Smith says.

Want more? See: Facebook and Google brand safety issues should 'kick marketers up the butt'

*AdNews traveled to the Adobe Summit as a guest of Adobe

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